DuPage County Nonprofit Partners with County Schools and Parents on Teen Sexual Health

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A DuPage County, Illinois, nonprofit addresses the issues of teen sexuality and health education in middle schools and high schools in the county. The programs focus on helping students make healthy choices. In addition, the nonprofit provides free workshops for parents and other community organizations whose mission includes preparing students for leadership.

We want to see students enjoy a healthier future

This fall, Amplify Youth Development, a DuPage County nonprofit, will begin its ninth school year in providing sexual health curriculum for middle schools and high schools in the county. Serving private and public schools, the organization also offers educational presentations directly to students and parents through county community groups such as churches, park districts, and libraries. For more information, visit http://www.amplifyyouthdevelopment.com/media.

Amplify's program meets the State of Illinois requirement for abstinence education for middle schools and high schools that was mandated in 1997 to improve the health and social welfare of adolescents in Illinois. To read Illinois' requirements, visit http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=34257.

"We want to see students enjoy a healthier future," says Andrea Nelson, program director of Amplify Youth Development. "I mean physically as well as mentally healthy. Our immediate desire is to equip students to become healthy, successful adults."

Studies confirm that aside from bearing the burden of teen pregnancy and STDs, teens who are sexually active often struggle emotionally. Compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy, more likely to feel depressed, and significantly more likely to attempt suicide (National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, Wave II, 1996). Visit Amplify's web site for teens for more information: http://www.mylifeamplified.com.

In the passion of the moment, teens don't often consider the life-altering consequences of their choices. That's why the larger vision of Amplify Youth Development is to teach teens how to think long term, including how to set and work towards goals. All this is done in the context of promoting the health benefits of postponing sex until marriage. Says Nelson, "You could describe our program as 'health education meets character education.' "

Last year, the organization taught in more than 30 DuPage County middle schools and high schools, addressing more than 7,000 students on the topics of sexual health. At many of those schools, Amplify also offered a free workshop for parents. At no extra cost, Amplify Youth Development provides an outsourced solution for middle schools and high schools to meet the Illinois requirement for abstinence education.

One student from Downers Grove said, "The presenters from Amplify were terrific - and they made me think about how my choices today may affect my future."

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